The proposed project is an exploratory study to assess the ability of micro sample testing to measure mechanical properties of hardmetals at the local scale. The project will cover the behaviour of individual features such as WC grains, WC-WC interfaces and the binder. Micro samples of different geometries (beams, pillars) will be machined using a focused ion beam (FIB) and tested with a nanoindenter system to measure force–displacement information. 

This project is the first stage of a program aimed at the development of robust metrology for the mechanical characterisation of key microstructural features in hardmetals.

Huge potential

‘The potential of this project is huge within the hard materials community, as the results obtained from this study could unlock the potential of better understanding of mechanical properties of the different phases and interfaces in hardmetal components,’ said EPMA’s technical director Dr Olivier Coube. 

The research will be coordinated by CEIT and will be partially co-funded by NPL, with the overall cost to the split between a minimum of four industrial project partners. The project is planned to start in the next few months, with the project being planned to be eight months long.

The project is open both EPMA Members and Non-Members alike (special conditions apply for Non-Members), with a full description of the project available here.